In a recent study by Consumer Reports, respondents cited battery concerns as the top two attributes preventing them from buying or leasing an electric vehicle. Specifically, they worried about where they would charge it (61%) and EV battery capacity (55%). Range anxiety plagues a lot of EV owners – but we’re here to help. Whether you’re trying to extend how long a single charge lasts in your EV, or you’re looking for tips to extend your EV’s battery, we’ve got a few things for you to consider. Read on for EV battery charging best practices.
1. Avoid “Deep” Charging or Discharging
It may sound counterintuitive, but an electric vehicle’s battery performs best when kept between 20% and 80% charged. To protect your EV’s battery capacity, it is recommended that drivers should not allow their EV to fall below 20% before charging it or charge the battery above 80%. Electric cars typically utilize lithium-ion technology, and fully charging these batteries can “put the battery in a state of volatility that results in either negative impact on the state of charge, or it sets off a catastrophic failure” according to Midtronics. Pro tip: this is also true for your laptop or cellphone if they use lithium-ion batteries.
2. Use Regenerative Braking
Many electric vehicles have a “regenerative braking” feature, a unique capability of EVs that captures the kinetic energy of a vehicle and converts it back into battery power. Essentially, your electric car is charging itself when it brakes while going down hill, stopping at a light, etc. It is possible to turn this feature off (or at least shift it into a lower mode), but to extend your electric car’s battery life, it’s recommended that you use this feature. It will recharge your battery and it can reduce wear on your brake pads. Double win!
3. Opt for Slow Charging When Possible
We get it – time is money, and you want to spend as little of it at the charging station as you can. While fast chargers are fine for their convenience, they shouldn’t be your go-to for every charging situation. Fast chargers strain your EV battery because they push a ton of current into them in a short period of time and they cause heat to build up in the battery. Kia claims that, over a period of eight years, regularly using a standard charger will give you 10% more battery life than if you regularly fast charge your EV. Using slow chargers will slow your battery degradation, so it’s one of the EV battery charging best practices you should take seriously. Wondering what you’ll do while waiting for your electric vehicle to charge on a level-2 charger? Use You.Car to find your favorite amenities near your charging station. Set your vehicle’s max charge, and then head to to grab a cup of coffee or get some exercise in while you wait.Two birds, meet two stones.
4. Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Extreme heat or cold can negatively impact both an individual charge and overall EV battery capacity– especially when it results in use of the HVAC system. A study by AAA revealed that average driving range decreases by as much as 41% when drivers turn on the heat on a 20-degree day and by 17% on a day hotter than 95 degrees. While you can’t be expected to avoid driving in hot or cold weather altogether, drivers should be aware of this decreased driving range – and you can take some steps to mitigate the problem. Consider parking your electric vehicle in the shade or in a garage so it takes less power to heat or cool the cabin. If your vehicle is attached to a charger, consider pre-conditioning the cabin to avoid using battery power for heating or cooling. One more thing: you can also do this for the battery itself; if you’ve just stopped driving, allow the battery to cool down for a couple of minutes before you plug it into the charger.
5. Plan Efficient Routes
Sometimes, you just want to take a scenic road trip through some of the most beautiful parts of the United States. But on an average day, drivers of electric vehicles should prioritize efficiency to keep their EV batteries working in tip-top shape. Reduce unnecessary strain on yourEV’s battery by using a navigation system that takes charging stations and elevation changes into account.
6. Keep the Rest of Your Vehicle in Good Shape
A lot of factors go into extending electric car battery life, and the maintenance of the rest of the vehicle is certainly one of them. First, be sure to keep your electric car’s software up to date; often, EV manufacturers will release software updates specifically geared toward battery optimization, efficiency, and longevity. Next, keep your tires inflated properly; under-inflated tires require your EV to use more energy to propel it forward, decreasing the overall efficiency of your charge. Finally, avoid overloading your vehicle. If you need to use your vehicle to transport heavy boxes, that’s fine – but don’t use yourEV as a storage space for all of your belongings. Remove unnecessary, heavy items to improve energy consumption.
Follow these EV battery charging best practices, and you’ll be in good shape. But if your electric vehicle’s battery life has got you down, we’re here to help. One of You.Car’s primary missions is to alleviate range anxiety for EV owners. Drivers use our app to navigate the world efficiently, to find charging stations along their route, to filter those stations based on reliability and nearby amenities, and to read community ratings and reviews powered by Yelp. Check it out.